Sunday was our big day! Yes, Sunday was Baby Shower Day! Well, it was actually our friends' big day, but we, along with another friend, were throwing them a baby shower at our home that we had been working towards for several weeks. Beyond the weeks of planning, we've been killing ourselves trying to whip the house into shape in the days prior to the event, so we hope you won't mind when we say it was also our big day.

In the frantic run-up to the actual event, we had already completed a pretty extensive list of chores to clean the house and bring the backyard up to snuff. Alex was a machine as he worked through the list I created for him, which luckily freed me up to concentrate on all of the party specific details we needed to tackle.

The overall goal of this whole endeavor was to concentrate on a classy and classic baby shower theme with a dash of cuteness, but nothing too over-the-top "BABYish." Simple enough, right? For me, this meant a calming mix of colors to lay the basis for the decor with a few subtle "shower" themes thrown in. No scary baby doll decor, no guessing games, some delicately arranged and homemade snacks, and alcohol aplenty. As it turns out, we were able to set the tone for the entire event by selecting a simple color palette and providing professionally designed and printed invitations.

The mom-to-be happens to be a talented graphic designer, so she put together a stunning paper invite that truly acted as the jumping off point for the whole party. The turquoise and white invite, complete with an umbrella, set the desired tone for our elegant and traditional affair. 

Since we were using the invitations as our overall design approach to the party, we were able to complement them by placing a few other printed touches around the house. We started with a small placard on the front door directing guests to our backyard...

...and this sign on our back gate welcoming guests to the party. I hope this hanging sign distracted entering guests from noticing our neighbor's pile of trash that I had nicely arranged the day before the event. 

In addition to the hanging signs we also created a few menu cards that we placed in small silver frames at each food station. 

Another area where we leveraged this lovely layout and design will extend to something sentimental that will last well beyond the end of the party. We asked guests to bring a favorite children's book as a gift with the intent of starting a library for the new parents. We then created book plates and provided them to guests at the party, and each guest was asked to fill it out and affix it in the book they selected. Alex picked out our book, his childhood favorite, Goodnight Moon.

I love this idea simply because the new parents will ultimately be reminded of their baby shower each and every time they read one of these stories to their child, even after they aren't necessarily considered "new parents" anymore.

As with just about any good party, we wanted the guests to be able to judge the quality of the party not only by the company, but also by the food and beverages being served. The event's menu consisted of bite sized morsels that would allow guests to easily talk, mingle, eat, and drink without the added need to juggle utensils. Between myself and the co-hostess, we created an array of "baby bites" which included individual mexican layer dips, phyllo cups with brie and apricot preserves, crostini with spinach and feta dip, fruit skewers, and wontons filled with seasoned ground beef. As you can tell from the extensive menu, and the fact we were hand making all of these items (no frozen apps were had at this party), we were two women on a mission, and operated like a well oiled machine.

For the dessert selection, we spent hours making festive rice krispy treats, adding a whimsical touch by rolling them into ball shapes and presenting them on sticks for easy consumption.

Since it seems my weekend isn't complete without making cupcakes for an event, I tried my hand at vanilla bean cupcakes, complete with homemade raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream. (They were delicious, in case you're wondering!) Our mom-to-be said the cupcakes truly reminded her of her wedding cake. This was a total coincidence but a major score.

As you can see, I put my Wilton tips to work once again (I love those things), and gave that "store bought" look to our homemade cupcakes. Actually, piping was absolutely our friend this weekend. It seemed we piped everything for an elegant and neat appearance. These efforts included piping apricot preserves into the phyllo cups with brie...

...as well as leveraging our mad piping skills when assembling the mexican layer dips. My co-hostess executed this endeavor with style. How cute are these individual servings?

That's beans, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, and cheese, if you're recreating this at home.

To get all of this food from prep to the guests, we set up two food stations. The beverage and dessert buffet was in the kitchen and featured an array of beverages, or "baby bevvies" as they were known on Sunday. The featured drink was prosecco, which could be customized with peach or orange juice to make on-the-fly bellinis and mimosas. They were a huge hit, to say the least! We also served lemonade, sparkling water, still water, and assorted beer.

We opted to set up the raspberry-filled vanilla bean cupcakes indoors. Though the weather outside was pleasant and cool, the sunlight was direct and warm, and I really didn't want to see the homemade buttercream melt and slide right off of the cupcakes under the direct sun.

In the backyard we set up the more general food station. I used two saw horses and a piece of plywood cut to 3' x 5' and covered it with a simple white tablecloth and burlap runner. Carrying the "shower" theme to the buffet, I set out an oversized umbrella, and an undersized pair of rain boots that I painted earlier in the week to match the theme palette of the event. If you'll remember, I picked up these little paper mache Wellies on our shopping trip the weekend before. A little acrylic paint did the trick quite nicely and made them a fun "shower" addition.

It was a little tough to get a good photo of the outdoor buffet due to the bright sunlight and shade under the umbrella, but hopefully you'll get a sense of how it all came together.

The bite sized treats blended seamlessly with the rain shower decor.

The indoor/outdoor setup lent itself to a good flow of guests between the garden, sun porch, and kitchen. Guests could easily access bites of food outside and sit at the backyard table while chatting...

...while other guests could mingle indoors and help themselves to the array of beverages.

The funniest part of the shower (in my opinion) took place when gifts were being opened. The lovely couple received a stuff labrador, and Miss Lulu was 100% convinced this toy was intended for her. She has a bad habit in our home of truly believing any stuffed item is hers to love and destroy, and she was completely mesmerized by this toy. Luckily, Alex quickly tucked it away in a high location to avoid any beheadings or de-stuffings. Good grief.

As a parting gift for guests, I created some hand dipped white chocolate covered pretzels, sprinkled with turquoise sanding sugar. 

I then wrapped these pretzels individually with a coordinating "thank you" card, matching ribbon, and cellophane bag. We displayed these gifts in a basket at the back door for guests to grab on the way out. 

As you can see from our photos, we put a lot of time and effort into making this whole event seem as put together and thoughtful as possible. And though we had professionally designed print pieces, a series of beverage and food selections, and a fully executed but subtle theme, we really didn't break the bank on this party in the least bit. I consider that a serious success! The feedback we received from both the guests and the guests of honor was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and the party ended up extending well beyond the scheduled time. 

Have you every thrown a baby shower? Or maybe a themed party of another kind? What are your tips and tricks to creating a memorable and fun event for friends and family alike?

Comments 23

Comments

Enya
5/29/2013 at 11:52 AM
All of this looks amazing! Congrats on a gorgeous fete!
Wendy
5/30/2013
Thanks so much, Enya! :-)
5/29/2013 at 11:53 AM
Holy cow!! That is one stunning baby shower. Love the unbrella and boots. And now I'm drooling over all that beautiful food. Very, very well done!
Wendy
5/30/2013
Thanks so much Amanda! It was a lot of work, but a ton of fun!
Katie Schnepf
5/29/2013 at 11:55 AM
We Heart Parties- you should check out this baby shower- cute stuff and Old Town Home is always so crafty!
5/29/2013 at 12:35 PM
LOOKS GREAT!! I could eat one of those cupcakes right now. The books and book plates are such amazing gifts. My friends did that for my shower and I always do it for others and everyone loves it. Even the parents of young kids are jotting down book ideas for their own kids after seeing the parents-to-be opening their new library. I have one last bridal shower hosting on the horizon... Looking forward to it!
Wendy
5/30/2013
Thanks, Melissa! It's so nice to hear from an "established" parent that this is an idea that's appreciated for years to come. :-)
Karin K
5/29/2013 at 1:27 PM
My GOD that was a lot of work!!! It definitely paid off - it looks like you hired someone to put the whole thing together! I'd love to know what size tablecloth you used on your makeshift patio table. I tried something similar, and mine looked kinda crappy. ):
Wendy
5/30/2013
Thanks so much Karin! I'm so flattered that you think it looks like we hired someone!

The tablecloth is just a standard sized one (and the one I use on my dining room table). If I had to guess, it's probably 6'x9'? The trick was putting the table up against the wall so that I could pull the cloth forward to the length I needed in front. Using the burlap disguised the fact that the white cloth isn't centered on the table, and covered up the short ends on either side. :-)
Karin K
5/30/2013 at 1:01 PM
Ah ha! Thanks for the info. I think my tablecloth is just a weird size, and I need something to come all the way down the sides. I am pinteresting this post right now before I forget.
Kalli Rasbury Groce
5/29/2013 at 1:40 PM
Wendy, that party was beautiful! Can you tell me how you do your apricot/brie phyllo cups? They look delish!
5/29/2013 at 2:19 PM
Holy cow, Wendy - you are talented!! We're having a "home" wedding reception (since we were out of province for the actual shindig) in July and I might have to steal some ideas from here, haha.
Wendy
5/30/2013
Steal away! And I'll be looking forward to seeing a full writeup of your home wedding reception! Congratulations!
Katie Sawyer Boyle
5/29/2013 at 8:25 PM
Looks like a HUGE success! Loved every detail!
5/29/2013 at 10:14 PM
Everything looked so beautiful. You can tell a ton of thought and planning went into this! If your full time job doesn't work out... ha! You definitely have a knack!
Wendy
5/30/2013
:-) Thanks Amanda! It was a ton of fun to plan this all out! If only I could paint wellies and hand dip pretzels every day, I'd be a happy girl.
Pamela G.
5/30/2013 at 5:32 AM
You go Wendy! That was fabulous entertaining! Provide some recipes when you get a chance. Everything looked delicious!
Wendy
5/30/2013
You got it, Pam! We made sure to take a lot of photos of the process so I could share recipes/step by step instructions afterwards. Stay tuned! :-)
Old Town Home
5/30/2013 at 7:55 AM
Aww. Thanks so much Katie Schnepf!
Old Town Home
5/30/2013 at 7:55 AM
Thanks Kalli Rasbury Groce! They're super simple. Using store bought phyllo shells (found in frozen aisle), you add a small piece of brie and a small dollop of any type of preserves you prefer. (Raspberry, apricot, strawberry would all be great.) You bake them at 350 until they cheese softens and the shells turn golden brown. Then you step back and get out of the way, because people will attack! :-)
Old Town Home
5/30/2013 at 8:00 AM
Thanks Katie Sawyer Boyle! I wish you were still in the 'hood so I could have thrown you one too!
Justin
5/31/2013 at 10:44 AM
just curious....what kind of camera do you use to take all of these photos?
Alex
5/31/2013
We've been using a mixture of a Canon T3i with various lenses (50mm, 28-55mm, and 10-22mm) as well as an iPhone 5 and iPhone 4. So pretty much all over the place. Our very old photos are more then likely on our old 5 megapixel Sony beast.
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